and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation
by John Daniel
Philologos Religious Online Books
Secret Societies and
Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation
Transcription of seven 1-hour audio cassette messages
by John Daniel, author of "Scarlet and the Beast"
The Secret Society at the Church of Smyrna
Tape 1 | Introduction | Tape 3
Hello, I'm John Kreigel, President of JKI Publishing. Before we begin this series of seven messages on the seven churches of Revelation, I want to give you a brief overview of God's plan for mankind as recorded in Scripture. This will help you better understand the purpose behind these seven messages.
There is a battle between God and Satan. It's not an eternal battle for Scripture prophesies the end of Satan. God is the victor over evil in the past, the present and the future. The devil knows this, but he continues the war against God anyway in hopes of putting off the inevitable. His mode of operation is to form secret societies to conspire against God and man.
Satan was once Lucifer, the mighty archangel. Scripture tells us that he first conspired with 1/3 of the angels to dethrone God. As a result, there was war in heaven and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven onto the earth where Lucifer became Satan, the Adversary. On earth, the Adversary's battle continued for the souls of mankind. God warned Adam and Eve in advance not to join Satan's rebellion or they would die. Satan deceived Eve with the promise of godhood; Eve recruited Adam and together they joined Satan's rebellion. Because of their disobedience, God could no longer fellowship with Adam and Eve, hence the human race was doomed to both a physical and spiritual death unless God intervened.
In love of, and infinite mercy for His creation, God set in motion a redemption plan. In Genesis 3:15 God announced His plan to Satan; God would destroy Satan through a Redeemer born of the seed of a woman which is interpreted to mean, born of a virgin. The development of the seed plot is recorded throughout the entire Old Testament. The Redeemer would be of Hebrew race, born of the tribe of Judah, through the kingly line of David. To the Jews of the Old Testament, he was known as the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah. The New Testament records the culmination of God's plan. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God's seed was miraculously placed in the womb of a virgin, her name was Mary, of the lineage of King David.
When the Messiah ("Christ" in Greek) was born, Mary named him Jesus which means "Savior." Jesus Christ, the Savior Messiah of the human race was both deity and man, God incarnate. In this form, God would pay the penalty for mankind's sin of rebellion by His own death. Christ's ministry on earth, His life, His death, burial and resurrection, completed the redemption plan for mankind.
However, the redemption plan is not a blanket amnesty for mankind. Every person must choose to accept or reject the plan. Only those who accept the plan are redeemed to eternal life. To carry the good news of this redemption plan throughout earth, Jesus Christ founded the Church. The Church is not a building, it's not a corporation. It is a body of believers in Christ who have been given the task to spread the good news that the human race is no longer doomed to eternal separation from God, that if they repent of their rebellion against the Almighty and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they will have eternal life. The finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary defeated Satan.
Satan's ultimate doom, however, is prophesied not to occur until after the end of the Church Age. Therefore, to prolong his life, the Adversary fights to extend the Church Age. With those who rejected the redemption plan, Satan conspired to form secret societies to infiltrate the Church for the express purpose of slowing the progress of evangelism. The record of this conspiracy is recorded in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
John Daniel, author of the best-selling trilogy "Scarlet and the Beast" is both author and narrator of these series of seven audiocassette messages entitled "Secret Societies and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation."
Now, here is John Daniel.
Turn in your Bible to Revelation chapter 2. We'll be reading from the old King James version.
The book of Revelation is a prophecy of the end-times as revealed to the apostle John in a vision given to him by Jesus Christ when John was exiled on the island of Patmos about the year 96 AD. The apostle was to write down what the risen Savior showed him and send the message to seven select churches in Asia Minor. The cities were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. I believe, as do many prophecy scholars, that Christ selected the seven cities to represent the future of the church because within the defined name of each city and within the characteristic nature of each city, are hidden the characteristics of seven distinct church periods from John's day to our day. In other words, the seven letters to the seven churches is a prophecy of the church age which is now about 2,000 years old. Each of the seven churches was infiltrated by a pagan secret society.
In our first study we witnessed that the Ephesian church successfully excised the secret societies but at the expense of evangelism. With the church of Smyrna, which is our current study, we shall discover the retaliation of the secret societies. Of the seven churches three were both commended and condemned by Christ, two were commended by our Savior without finding any fault in them and two were condemned without giving them any praise. What is most significant to us is that at the end of each letter Christ personalizes his message to individual Christians with this statement "to him that overcometh." This suggests that not only are there seven distinct church periods within the church age with seven characteristics, there are also seven types of Christians defined by these same characteristics.
Our study of each of the seven churches will be divided into three segments: First we'll relate the characteristics of each local church in each Asia Minor city to what we know historically of that ancient city and church; Second we'll relate these same characteristics to a church period that from our perspective today we can prove historically had those same characteristics; Finally we will relate the characteristics of each church to each individual Christian. As a Christians where do you fit in to the prophetic picture? The answer is found in your Christian characteristic. Therefore, of that characteristic which best fits your own spiritual walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, take particular note for that characteristic is developing you for your eternal occupation in the New Heaven and the New Earth so long as you overcome the obstacles the secret societies have placed before you to hinder you in your part of the spread of the gospel.
Follow me as I read Revelation 2:8-11. I'll be reading from the old King James version.
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The word Smyrna means "bitterness; suffering." Its root comes from "myrrh" an ointment used in burial which must be crushed to release its fragrance. This definition covers the entire history of the Smyrna church period. From 170 AD to approximately 312 AD the church suffered severe persecution. Its historic headquarters began in Asia Minor and with the persecution moved West to Rome. In our previous study, the Ephesian church period having discarded its first love of evangelism is now about to be chastised by having its candlestick extinguished through persecution and martyrdom in the Smyrna church period. This period of church history experienced the greatest persecution the church has ever known. Ironically it was also a period when the church reached its greatest numbers in proportion to world population. Tertullian, a church leader of that age, said: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Let's never forget the only commandment Christ gave the church: evangelize the world. As contrary as it may sound, when we lose our first love of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, God permits persecution to accomplish what we should have done voluntarily.
Christ's characteristic is found in Revelation 2:8 our Savior was dead and is alive. How appropriate this characteristic is to a martyred Christian. As they follow Christ in death, they are assured of resurrection to life. To this Christian Christ has no condemnation only commendation. His commendation for the Smyrna church is found in Revelation 2:9,10 as they suffered persecution they were faithful unto death. Notice they were faithful UNTO death, not UNTIL death. Faithful UNTO death means they submitted to martyrdom. Christ does not mention the methods of persecution but does say that the Devil was behind the slaughter.
Historically we know that Satan attacked the Smyrna Christians in three ways all of which overlapped. First was an indirect attack by passing laws that the authorities knew Christians couldn't in good conscience keep. Hence Christians became criminals, subject to judicial punishment. This technique was used against all the churches of Asia Minor but more specifically in Smyrna. The loyalty to Rome of Smyrna's general population was well-known. This city was the center of emperor worship having won the privilege from the Roman Senate in 23 AD of building the first temple in honor of Tiberius. When Asia Minor Christians refused to bow down to this most powerful man in the world, they found it difficult to find work. Consequently, to sustain life most of the Christian population in Smyrna were self-employed. Under Domitian 86-96 AD, emperor worship became compulsory on threat of death.
The second type of persecution came through taxation. Once a year all people had to bring their taxes to the temple of the emperor and sign allegiance to this man/god. If Christians refused, which they most certainly did, their property and all worldly goods were confiscated, the result of which was poverty. Christ addressed this in Revelation 2:9 "I know thy...poverty, (but thou art rich)." Although poor in material things, Christ said they were rich in righteousness for not bending the knee to an earthly ruler who demanded worship.
The third technique of persecution was a direct physical attack. The first martyr of the Smyrna church period was Polycarp who in the year 166 AD was burned at the stake at the age of 108. At the age of 22, Polycarp became a disciple of the apostle John and was appointed to the position of bishop of Smyrna. Eighty-six years later those who called for Polycarp's death in 166 AD were a few Jews who had joined a predominantly Gentile secret society and had Judaized it. In Revelation 2:9 Christ gives the scriptural name of that secret society: "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." To understand what Christ means by "the synagogue of Satan," we must look at history.
Throughout the book of Acts the Gentile riots that were stirred up against the preaching of the gospel were organized by Jews. But did the persecution of the Smyrna church period originate from Jewish synagogues? There are two opinions: First is the opinion that they were Jews who rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, hence are no longer considered Jews. There are two scriptures used as proof in this opinion: First is found in Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly." Second is found in John 8:44 where Christ speaking to the Jews said "Ye are of your father the devil." William Newall, former assistant superintendent of Moody Bible Institute, suggested the same idea with this statement: "Satan early entrenched himself against Christ in his gospel in Judaism." Certainly scripture is replete with examples of Jewish persecution of Christians in the early years of the church. Are Jews, however, the persecutors during the Smyrna church period? The answer say those who hold the second opinion is "no." They were not Jews but Judaized Gentiles. Walter Scott came closest to what I believe is an accurate assessment. In his book "Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ," Scott reminds us of the pretender apostles in the Ephesian church period who were called liars. Another group of liars from an organization Christ calls "the synagogue of Satan" are pretending to be Jews in the Smyrna church period. Walter Scott leaves the reader with the impression that both groups of liars are either the same people or the next generation who are members of a satanic order that Christ called "the synagogue of Satan." I believe this is the proper interpretation. When Christ said "they are not Jews but liars from the synagogue of Satan" I take this literally to mean that they were Gentiles who had taken on Judaic character. We shall return to them later in this study.
In Revelation 2:10 Christ exhorts these persecuted Christians not to fear suffering, that the Devil will persecute them ten days, that they are to be faithful unto death. In the Greek language ten days can be translated literally as ten days. This means that there may only have been ten literal days of persecution on a local scale at Smyrna. If so, I found no indication of this in the history of the city of Smyrna, whose history is scanty at best. One author suggests that these ten days could have been the extent of the arrest, trial, sentence and burning at the stake of Polycarp. The Greek language also allows for ten days to be translated figuratively as ten years or ten periods of time. We know historically that the Smyrna church period ended with ten years of the most intense persecution under Diocletian from 294 AD to 303 AD. Likewise, there were exactly ten periods of persecution that spanned 2 1/2 centuries beginning under Nero in 67 AD and ending under Diocletian in 303 AD. Herein lies the versatility of the Greek language: ten days can mean any of the three suggestions yet include all three. On the broader scale of ten periods of persecution that spanned 2 1/2 centuries, there were times the slaughter would subside when an emperor came to power who didn't hate Christians. Historically, however, it was a sustained persecution begun by ten emperors that lasted almost 300 years.
The immensity of the slaughter made the inquisitions of the Middle Ages pale in comparison. Following is a list of ten Roman emperors whose reigns started ten periods of persecution. We begin with Nero in the year 67 AD who that year ordered the city of Rome to be set aflame. For nine days the fires raged, killing thousands of people while Nero played his harp and sang the song of the burning of Troy. Nero blamed the Christians for setting the flames, giving occasion for the first persecution. Nero's barbarities were so depraved that they even shocked the Romans. He had some sown up in skins of wild beasts then cast to the dogs until they expired. Others were dressed in clothing made stiff with wax, fastened to trees and then set on fire to illuminate his gardens. It was during Nero's reign that both Peter and Paul were martyred.
The second persecution began under Domitian in 81 AD. Christians brought before him were given the chance to live if they would only renounce their religion. The test was an oath they had to take during renunciation. If they refused, death was their sentence. The three most famous martyrs during the reign of Domitian were the apostle John, Simeon the bishop of Jerusalem and Timothy the celebrated disciple of Saint Paul. The apostle John was boiled in oil but miraculously survived and was exiled to Patmos; Simeon was crucified and Timothy was beaten so severely with clubs that he expired two days later.
The third persecution began under Trajan in 108 AD. During his reign Christians were accustomed to meeting before daylight for prayer. They would repeat together that Christ was God, then bind themselves by obligation never to commit theft, robbery or adultery, never to falsify their word and never to defraud any man. Following this daily ritual they had communion and departed. For their righteous acts Trajan daily put to death thousands of these model citizens. Some of these model citizens were thrown to the lions and devoured. In imitation of Christ's passion, others were crowned with thorns, crucified and spears run through their sides. Many pagans who witnessed the death of these courageous martyrs were struck with admiration and themselves became Christians for which they in turn suffered like deaths.
The fourth persecution began under Marcus Antoninus in 162 AD. Cruelties under his reign were so barbaric that the spectators shuddered with horror at the sight yet were astonished at the intrepid sufferers. Christians who already had wounded feet were required to walk over thorns, nails and sharp shells. Others were scourged until their sinews and veins lay bare and afterward were killed with the most excruciating tortures. Many were delivered to lions for their faith. As a result of the astonishing courage of Christians, thousands of pagans became converts to the faith which inspired such fortitude.
Polycarp the bishop of Smyrna ministered during the reign of Marcus. Hearing that the emperor sought after him he fled. Upon capture, the bishop requested of the guards an hour in prayer. So fervent was Polycarp's prayer that the guards repented of their part in his capture yet they still took him before the proconsul who urged Polycarp to renounce Christ and be released. Polycarp replied "Eighty-six years have I served him and he never once wronged me, how then can I blaspheme my King who saved me." Polycarp was tied to the stake but not nailed as usual since he assured the authorities that he would withstand the flames. When the torch lit the kindling, the flames encircled his body like an arch without once scorching his skin. On seeing this, the executioner thrust the bishop through with his sword. The quantity of blood that flowed from Polycarp's wound extinguished the fire.
There were other Christians who had their brains dashed out with clubs, thrown over cliffs, pressed to death with weights and beheaded. So many Christians were martyred during the fourth wave of persecution that they can't be numbered. The catacombs give only a suggestion. Sixty catacombs with galleries eight feet high and four feet wide worm there way beneath the streets of Rome for 600 miles. All are filled with the bones of martyred Christians.
The fifth persecution began with Severus in 192 AD. During his reign the father of the celebrated Origen and several of his brothers and followers were beheaded. Irenaeus was also beheaded. Some of the most horrible methods were employed to make Christians suffer. Some were boiled in oil or boiled in baths of water; others died when boiling tar was poured on their heads. In Africa, the Christians were led to the amphitheatre where they were stripped naked and required to run the gauntlet between hunters who lashed them with whips. Some were thrown to mad bulls and gored to death. It mattered not that they were male or female, young, old or pregnant, they all suffered like fate. By this time one would think that the persecution of Christians would cause a drastic decline in converts. Not so. Tertullian who lived during the fifth persecution wrote that if Christians had collectively withdrawn themselves from Roman territories, the empire would have been greatly depopulated. As unorthodox as it may seem, persecution adds to the rolls of the church. One example is found in the countless officers who, after leading Christians to their executions, became converts themselves.
The sixth persecution began with Maximus in 235 AD. Under his reign two bishops of Rome were martyred. Likewise, Roman Senators who became followers of Christ, perished with all their families. The slaughter was so great that the bodies piled up in heaps or were buried in mass graves.
The seventh persecution began under Decius in 249 AD. His reason for killing Christians was partly because their number had increased to the point that pagan temples were forsaken while churches were filled. During this time Origen at the age of 64 was captured, tortured and thrown into prison but he survived to die a natural death at the age of 69. While some of the most cruel methods were used to make Christians suffer, most were beheaded during the reign of Decius.
The eighth persecution began with Valerian in 257 AD. His first act was to put to death all the Christian clergy in Rome. In another city 300 Christians were rounded up and placed around a burning pit, each was given incense to sacrifice to Jupiter or be thrown into the pit. Refusing, they all of one accord jumped into the pit. Thousands more were burnt to death, beheaded or thrown to wild beasts.
The ninth persecution began under Aurelian in 274 AD, who continued the torture which was only short-lived due to his assassination.
The tenth and final period of persecution began with the reign of Diocletian in 284 AD. Christians were tied to posts and their feet pierced with nails. After days of suffering they were thrust through with lances. Some were smoked to death, others had large stones ties to their bodies and thrown into a river. In the year 286 AD a legion of soldiers consisting of 6,666 men were all Christians and when they refused to sacrifice to the pagan god of the emperor he had them all cut to pieces with their own swords. The most severe years of persecution under Diocletian lasted ten years from 294 AD to 303 AD. In those years, children who had become Christians were sacrificed to pagan gods by their own fathers. In one city, many houses were set afire and whole Christian families perished in the flames. In Africa, a pastor and his children were tortured and then sent to prison where they starved to death. No invention was exhausted to devise tortures against Christians during those last ten years. Racks, scourges, swords, daggers, crosses, poisons and famine were made use of in various parts to dispatch Christians. When the persecutors became bored with slaughter, they reverted to torture. Many Christians had their ears cut off, their noses slit, their right eyes put out, their limbs rendered useless by dreadful dislocations and their flesh seared in conspicuous places with red-hot irons. After 303 AD the persecution subsided and in the year 324 AD Constantine came to power and stopped the persecution.
Each wave of persecution was planned from behind the closed doors of secret societies known as mystery religions in those days. Although Christ did not mention the historic name of these secret societies, in Revelation 2:9-10 he gives it a descriptive name that would identify all secret societies throughout the next 2,000 years. I quote Christ's words: "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty. I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer."
In this statement Christ ties the awful suffering of the Smyrna church to the synagogue of Satan. When our Lord speaks his words have significant meaning. If not readily understood, Christ expects us to find out what he means for he says eight times in the book of Revelation "he that hath an ear, let him hear." The word "hear" in the Greek means to understand. If Christ ties the suffering to an organization who claims to be Jews but are not, we are to understand who these fake Jews are and from what organization they come. Satan worship is always cloaked in secrecy hence the phrase "mystery religion." The word "mystery" means "secret." In Deuteronomy 13:6-8 God told the children of Israel not to join secret worship societies: "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods. Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him."
During the Smyrna church period, Satan had not changed his tactics. His religious activity was still conducted in secret. Christ calls the adversary's secret order "the synagogue of Satan." I devote one portion of my book "Scarlet and the Beast" to understanding Christ's statement about "the synagogue of Satan." Following is a brief synopsis: Zechariah 5 in the Old Testament describes a pagan religion that counterfeits as Jewish. By pagan symbols verse 6 identifies this religion as violent, shrouded in mystery and that it promotes the spiritual resemblance of Solomon's Temple. If Zechariah confirms a counterfeit satanic order that doubles as the Temple of Solomon, it certainly could be called a synagogue of Satan. Christ's profound statement to the Smyrna Christians about this satanic order is so important to our understanding that he intended for it to ring in our ears throughout the church age. In Ephesus, for example, the synagogue of Satan attempted to infiltrate the church; in Smyrna it persecuted the church; in Pergamos it successfully infiltrated the church; in Thyatira it ran the church until it was excised in the inquisitions; in Sardis it funded the Protestant reformation in an attempt to dethrone the power of the church; in Philadelphia it bowed down at the feet of the church and in Laodicea it turned the church materialistic.
If Satan uses the membership of secret societies to plot his schemes against the church, and if this membership are Gentiles calling themselves Jews, we should be able to find it in history and indeed I have. In fact, these Satanists are the offspring of the Gnostic deceivers previously tried and excised from the assembly of believers during the Ephesus church period. Now filled with wrath they return to destroy the church. One example of an excised deceiver who returned to persecute the church is found in the life of Simon Magus. Traditionally he is believed to be the Jewish sorcerer in Acts 8. According to Irenaeus, a church leader during the transition between the Ephesus and Smyrna church periods, Simon Magus was father of the Gnostics. As such, he was the author of a great exposition which gathered together a maze of Oriental notions about the complicated steps that could lead the human mind to a divine comprehension of all things. In Acts 8 we discover that Simon the sorcerer was rebuked by Peter after trying to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit to add to his magical playthings. Tradition informs us that this rebuke rendered the magician's art impotent. Simon, after throwing his magical tools in the sea, fled to Rome and became a favorite of Nero. Simon filled the mind of this sick emperor with like hatred toward Christians and encouraged Nero in the first wave of persecution that would span nearly 300 years. Obviously Simon Magus, a Jew, was of Satan. Therefore, in the life of this evil man we have one example of how Satan uses Jews in an attempt to first infiltrate the church and if vanquished to return as a persecutor of the church. Simon Magus most certainly fits the description of Romans 2:28 which reads "for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly." His kind can also be seen facing Jesus in John 8:44 where Christ says "ye are of your father the devil."
But was Christ speaking of the Simon Magus' when he said "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." To find the answer we must understand Satan's strategy. He hates Jews as much as he hates Christians and he is determined to destroy both. To accomplish this task, he first pits Jews against Christians, then Christians against Jews. We see Satan's strategy at work in the history of the early church and continuing throughout medieval history. In the book of Acts, for example, there is a history of the Jewish attack against the church. This attack continued for centuries until the church became the dominant power, then the church persecuted the Jews. When the church became more powerful, Satan went underground as he always does when exposed. And to avoid future exposure, Satan would make the Jews the scapegoat; thus the adversary organized a counterfeit entity that resembled Solomon's Temple. Jesus called it "the synagogue of Satan," those who say they are Jews but are not and do lie.
From behind these pagan temple walls, secret plots against the church continue. In our day, finding hard evidence to support that a secret satanic order was the force behind the persecution of Christians during the Smyrna church period is lacking for two reasons: First, we are removed from that time by almost 2,000 years and second, it is difficult to uncover a secret. Circumstantial evidence, however, is abundant. The first evidence comes from Christ himself when he tied to the persecution of the Smyrna church a mysterious satanic order that claimed to be Jewish but was not. Second, we know that pagan mystery religions are today called secret societies. For example, the word "mystery" in Greek as used in mystery religions means: "to shut the mouth; a secret kept by silence imposed by initiation into religious rites." Third, we know that during the second century after Christ, Gentile mystery religions began to take on Jewish character. This was the direct result of a few Jewish rabbis putting to pen a work they called the Kabbalah. The Kabbalah is a compilation of mystical rabbinical tradition which from the time of the Babylonian captivity was orally handed down from rabbi to rabbi. Much of the Kabbalah contains the Gnostic doctrine of the Zoroastrians of Persian empire days. This mystical work found its way into the Gentile mystery religions of Asian Minor and Greece where its contents were absorbed in their rituals. In my personal library are five volumes of the Kabbalah translated in English. To this day, the Kabbalah is more important to the religious Jews than is the Torah. When Christ rebuked the scribes and Pharisees in Luke 11:52 with these words: "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge," I suggest it was a rebuke of the oral teaching in the Kabbalah. Contained within the Kabbalah is the same Gnostic doctrine taught by the infiltrators of the church during the Ephesian church period.
To further understand what the synagogue of Satan is, we must understand that mystery religions seek from all religions that which is useful to them including those things useful from both Christianity and Judaism. An example has already been cited in the life of Simon Magus. He was a Jew dabbling in the mystic Oriental arts while at the same time desiring to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit. Freemasonry, likewise, claims kinship to Jesus by teaching its initiates that Christ's silence in the face of his interrogation by Pontius Pilate is proof of our Savior's keeping his Masonic oath. These are blasphemous teachings that Christ says takes away the key of knowledge. Christ stressed this to the Smyrna church when he said "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
To discover what secret society Christ was referring to, we must look at its modern successor Freemasonry. In Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" we find this statement: "Each lodge is and must be a symbol of the Jewish Temple, each master in the chair representing the Jewish king and every Freemason a personification of the Jewish workman." In my book "Scarlet and the Beast" I reproduce a picture of inside a Masonic Lodge which is laid out like Solomon's Temple. In the picture are Gentiles dressed like Jewish priests, bowing down before a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. Freemasonry claims it created its degrees from the Jewish Kabbalah, the same Jewish Kabbalah that infiltrated the mystery religions during the Smyrna church period. In fact, the entire Scottish Rite is built on its precepts. Thirty-third degree Freemason Albert Pike mentions the importance of the Kabbalah in its ability of syncretizing all religions. Pike says "All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Kabbalah and returned to it. The Kabbalah alone consecrates the alliance of the universal reason and the divine word. It establishes the balance between two forces apparently opposite, the eternal balance of being. It alone reconciles reason with faith, science with mystery; it has the keys of the present, the past and the future. Thus was a second Bible born unknown to, or rather, uncomprehended by the Christians."
Syncretizing doctrines of all faiths is a way of modern and near-modern mystery religions and the Jewish Kabbalah furnishes the source material. It was also the way the Grecian and Roman mystery religions of the second century AD. They, likewise, devoured the massive information found written in the rabbinical book of concealed mystery, the Kabbalah. And like Freemasonry today, Gentile initiates into the mystery religions were pronounced Jews upon completion of initiation. Hence, Christ referred to them as "the synagogue of Satan, those who say they are Jews and are not."
The most popular of the synagogues of Satan were the Grecian Eleusinian mysteries. "Eleusis" means to illuminate. The initiates were promised more light with each successive degree. Men from the most remote regions of the earth came to Greece to be initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries. The mysteries were divided into two classes: the lesser and the greater. Upon completion of the lesser degrees, there was a six month waiting period before initiates could petition for the greater degrees. Lesser degree initiates were called mysties, a title derived from a Greek word meaning "to shut the eyes" signifying that they were yet blind to the greater truths in the greater degrees. Only those found worthy were accepted for initiation into the secrets of the greater degrees which included licentious ceremonies to reach godhood. I have no doubt that those false apostles during the Ephesian church period who taught licentiousness as a means to salvation, were initiates in the greater degrees of the Eleusinian mysteries where it was the most popular secret society of its days.
As in Freemasonry today, during each initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries, aspirants took an oath of secrecy. The splendor of the initiation that followed surpassed all contemporary initiations of its kind and were deemed of so much importance that their secrets fell under the special protection of the state. In fact, by state law magistrates, most of whom were greater degree initiates, met annually at the close of their cities' licentious festival to pass sentence upon anyone who violated or transgressed the laws which governed the administration of their sacred rites. Hence, a legal excuse was legislated for the persecution of Christians.
Recognition between initiates in the Eleusinian mysteries was the standard system of secret signs, grips and passwords found in all mystery religions in modern secret societies. According to Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" the Eleusinian mysteries exerted a powerful influence on the secret societies of the Middle Ages such as the Rosicrucian and the Knights Templar Order. It was these two Orders respectively that founded in 1717 English Freemasonry and in 1725 French Freemasonry.
Freemasonry also claims its use of the Eleusinian mysteries specifically in the initiation ceremony of the third degree. Moreover, 33rd degree Freemason Albert Mackey claims that the temple of the Eleusinian mysteries was patterned after the Temple of Solomon as is Freemasonry today which further strengthens the fact that these mysteries had taken on Jewish character.
Prior to the latter half of the second century when the persecution of the Smyrna Christians began, the Eleusinian mysteries had already absorbed three Kabbalistic rites into its greater degrees. Upon completing initiation, these Gentile initiates were pronounced Jews. I will now name the six lesser degrees and the six greater degrees of the Eleusinian mysteries. First degree is called Eleusis, the advent or coming into light. Second degree is called Hierophant, the expounder of mystery. The third degree is called Hooperit (ph), the minister. Fourth degree is called Diokonos (ph), the deacon. Fifth degree is called Dadouchos, the torch-bearer. Sixth degree is called Photogog (ph), the bringer-in of light. Seventh degree is called Epoptes, the temple-goer. Eight degree is called Altopsy (ph), the seer of light. Ninth degree is called Hebrew, the completed one. Tenth degree is called Teleos (ph), the adept or perfected one. Eleventh degree is called Israelite, the god-seer, purified from all guile. And the final degree is called Jew. It is this degree that the candidate is pronounced to be his own god.
I suggest that Jesus Christ was both informing and warning the Smyrna church period of the source of their persecution as the Eleusinian mysteries when he said "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." This same warning extends to our day, for Freemasonry claims connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries. Therefore, Christ's expression to the Smyrna Christians of who their persecutors are, is meant for the entire church age.
In America it is difficult for us to fathom the persecutions of the church yet in other countries it has occurred this century and was instigated by secret societies. A few examples follow the same vicious pattern of the ancient Roman persecutions. In China in the year 1905, the Boxer Rebellion through persecution attempted to force native converts to renounce Christianity. Webster's Dictionary defines the Boxers as a Chinese secret society. In Russia following the first World War, the communist revolution slaughtered millions of Christians. I document in my book "Scarlet and the Beast" that those who persecuted the Russian Christians were members of the homicidal Masonic Lodge who after the slaughter carved Masonic symbols on the victims' bodies. Hitler, himself, knew that communism was the brainchild of Freemasonry but he believed that Freemasonry was controlled by Jews. In fact, Hitler coined the phrase "Judeo-Freemasonry." Another example of modern persecution of the church by secret societies occurred in Africa in the early 1970s (again, the documentation is in my book). According to British Intelligence, the communist revolution in Angola was a Masonic revolution and a Masonic slaughter of Christians. When British Intelligence officers were sent to a missionary compound called the Elam (ph) Mission Station, they found no survivors. One officer reported "I viewed the remains of 13 white missionaries who had been hacked to death. One 55 year old woman had an axe buried in her head. A three year-old baby girl was pinned to the dirt floor with a bayonet through her temples. All these victims bore the signs of Masonic ritualistic murder, all disemboweled and Kabbalistic symbols carved all over their bodies, lips and noses cut off."
Satan's use of Kabbalistic symbols in the synagogue of Satan is no accident; he hates Jews as much as he hates Christians. By design, when Kabbalistic symbols surround the scenes of murder victims, the scapegoat becomes the Jew. This is Satan's age-old plan to destroy both Christians and Jews alike. First, his secret societies who say they are Jews but are not, slaughter Christians. When pagan Kabbalistic symbols are found carved on the victims, Satan raises a Hitler to retaliate and slaughter the Jews.
Another persecution of Christians occurred in China beginning in 1950 with the Chinese Communist Revolution. It, too, was a secret society revolution led by Grand Orient Freemason Mao Tse Tung. And as the church in ancient Rome increased in number with each persecution, the underground church in China grew exponentially with the slaughter of each Christian.
What about our nation? Are secret societies persecuting and killing Christians here? Absolutely, but it's not publicized. One example is cited by David Berkowitz, a serial killer during the mid-1970s. Berkowitz was a member of a cult by the name "Son of Sam," a cult founded by a secret society called the Ordo Templi Orientis* better known as the OTO. The OTO was founded in 1902 by two 33rd degree Freemasons. At its head in 1912 was 33rd degree Freemason Alistair Crowley, the sweetheart of modern rock stars. This is the same Masonic Lodge that slaughtered Christians during the 1917 communist revolution in Russia and it's the same Masonic Lodge that slaughtered the missionaries in Angola in the early 1970s. David Berkowitz claims that all his murders were contracts handed down by the Son of Sam cult leaders. One victim he mentions was a young and beautiful brunette who he stabbed to death inside a church while she was praying. Her crime, according to Berkowitz, was that several months earlier she had been invited to one of their cult meetings where she boldly witnessed Jesus Christ.
* The information regarding Son of Sam "apparently relies on an uncorrected first edition of a books previously litigated by Ordo Templi Orientis" according to their legal department. (02/18/03)PHILOLOGOS
We can never know how many times this type of martyrdom has been repeated in our nation. For the most part, however, America has been protected from large-scale persecutions and we can document why. Statistics published in 1975 hold the key to that documentation. For the past 150 years, 95% of the world's missionaries and missionary funding have come from our nation. What happens when a church becomes evangelical? The synagogue of Satan will bow the knee to the church as we shall see during the Philadelphia church period. Let this be a lesson to every church in America today: evangelism emanating from your church will keep Satan on his knees.
Now let's discuss the eternal occupation of the Smyrna Christian. A clue is found in Revelation 2:10-11. Those who overcome the temptation of renouncing Christ to save their mortal lives and are willing to submit to martyrdom will receive a crown of life and shall not be hurt of the second death. Second death is defined in Revelation 20. It's the death pronounced on the wicked following the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennium. Hebrews 9:27 states "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." According to 2 Corinthians 5:8, when the righteous die we are immediately in the presence of the Lord. One day we shall be resurrected and given new bodies. Revelation 20:6 refers to this as the first resurrection. The first resurrection implies that there will be a second resurrection and indeed there will be but it's the resurrection of the wicked; only to them will the second death apply.
According to the parable of the beggar and the rich man in Luke 16, when the wicked die they go to a place of torment called hell. Revelation 20:13 confirms that at the end of the Millennium the wicked will be raised from hell to face judgment, this is the second resurrection. Now I want you to imagine the frame of mind of the wicked dead in hell; they are in unbelievable torment, some for thousands of years, others only a few days when suddenly they are taken out of that torment in the second resurrection. No longer in hell, they are obviously no longer in torment. They have been given a short reprieve to defend themselves. Their judge is a just God who will judge them from the book of works. Their defense is a display of their works all of which is documented in the book of works. God responds to their defense "But did you accept my son as your personal Savior? He shed his blood for your sins. Were you washed in the blood of the Lamb? If so, your name will be written in this book" and God picks up the Lamb's Book of Life and hands it to the defendant. In vain he searches for his name. Then God pronounces judgment: "Depart from me, I never knew you." Immediately the wicked man is hurled back into hell. This is the second death. The wicked who stand before God in their short reprieve for judgment certainly can remember the torments of hell. As they wait their turn they are gripped with fear as they see person after person cast back into hell. Not so with the martyred Smyrna Christians. In life they were given every opportunity to renounce Christ and live, instead they were faithful unto death. As horrible as their torment was, their first and only death is nothing in comparison to the second death of the wicked.
Christ gives the Smyrna Christian the assurance that he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. In the phrase "shall not be hurt of the second death" there is an exceedingly strong negative in the Greek. This martyr shall in no wise, on no account, under no circumstances ever be injured of the second death. The Smyrna overcomer is the one who is faithful unto death; one who sees the once dead and now living Savior in heaven and with that vision is bolstered in his faith to endure like punishment knowing full-well and without doubt that when his life is taken he will instantly be with the Lord. This type of Christian will bravely accept martyrdom. This Christian also has assurance that he will never be touched by the second death, the death that sends those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life to an eternal lake of fire.
Where do you fit into this picture? If you're persecuted for proclaiming the name of Christ or for defending the faith or if you lose your job because you are a Christian or if your house and all your possessions are taken because you refuse to pledge allegiance to another god, or if you're murdered because you refuse to renounce Christ as Savior, you are a Smyrna Christian and all of Christ's commendations and exhortations apply to you and with them comes no condemnation. Revelation 7:14-17 informs us of the eternal occupation of the Smyrna overcomer: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
In our next study we shall learn the eternal occupation of the Pergamos overcomer. May God bless you as you read these scriptures in advance of each study.
We trust you have been blessed by the study presented by John Daniel. Mr. Daniel is also the author of another work, a trilogy of books entitled "Scarlet and the Beast." If you are interested in ordering "Scarlet and the Beast: A History of the War between English and French Freemasonry" write to us at JKI Publishing, PO Box 131480, Tyler, Texas 75713 or call toll free 1-800-333-5344 for an order form and a free chapter-by-chapter review.
Tape 1 | Introduction | Tape 3
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